Smoke and flames issuing from the aircraft were captured in a series of photos taken by planespotter Tony Johnson, from Nottingham.
The incident occurred after the US cargo flight, a Kalitta Air Boeing 747 arriving from Leipzig, Germany, touched down on the tarmac.
The aircraft made a loud “bang”, reports the Scottish Sun, as it hit the ground.
One photo shows a flash of orange on the right-hand side of the jet, near the engine.
“I saw the plane touch down and pressed the multi-shot function on my camera,” said Tony Johnson, who was in the area to photograph a different plane that was due to land.
“As I was looking through the viewfinder, I saw a bright flash from the engine area, and thought what was that?
“At first, I thought it may have been a bird strike, these things happen.
“I finished looking at the photos, and to my surprise, it rolled to the gate as normal – like nothing had happened.
“I couldn’t believe what I had caught on camera, I was so happy – this is a once in lifetime photo.
“It was luck, I was in the right place at the right time.”
It’s not yet known what caused the fire, but one witness claimed the engine appeared to “ingest something”.
No one was hurt in the incident.
An East Midlands Airport spokesperson told The Independent on Friday: “A 747 cargo aircraft belonging to Kalitta Air is currently being inspected by the airline’s engineers following reports that it developed a technical issue upon landing at East Midlands Airport (EMA) yesterday afternoon.
“The flight operated safely into EMA and no action was required from airport staff.”
A spokesperson for Kalitta Air said: “While it will require some inspection to determine the cause of the engine compressor stall, the assertion that it was a bird or foreign object ingestion could be a cause.
“Once we receive the results of this inspection, a determination will be made as to what actions we take.”
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said it was called to the airport but crews were stood down and the incident was dealt with by a crew on site.
It’s not the first time a plane has caught fire.
In February 2020, a plane engine issued flames shortly before take-off, forcing it to be hosed down on the runway.
The incident occurred on GoAir flight G8 802 departing Ahmedabad in western India for Bengaluru in the south of the country.
According to the Indian airline, the right engine caught fire after a “foreign object” damaged it.
It was believed to have been caused by a bird strike.
As a result, the plane aborted the take-off.
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